by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner –

In the Exit-28 rivalry between Long Beach and West Harrison High School Monday night, April 17, 2023 from the Mike Rutledge Stadium, the Bearcats pulled out a close 7-4 win on Senior Night over the Hurricanes and earned a playoff spot in the first round of the MHSAA 5A playoffs.

The Long Beach Bearcats (12-11, 4-4) didn’t make it easy by allowing four runs in the top of the second inning from the West Harrison Hurricanes and a 4-2 lead, but scoring 5 runs in the next four innings and southpaw Landon VanCourt not allowing any runs for this time frame helped earn the needed victory.

“I thought our offensive did really well; situationally, and I thought VanCourt and Schepens did really well coming out and finishing the game for us,” said Long Beach Head Baseball Coach Garrett LaRosa.  “West Harrison is as scrappy as they come.  They are really well coached, have had some things not go there way, but you can never count them out.”

Long Beach Senior Ashton Schepens did everything, including reaching base three times, scoring once, knocking in a run (RBI), stealing a base, and closing the game for a save with two strikeouts.

The Bearcats also had multiple hits from Centerfielder Wesley Watson and Second Baseman Jake Thomas along with an RBI from both.  Jake and Luke Thomas finished with extra-base hits while Shortstop WB Bermudez stole two bases.

Despite Long Beach Starter Eli Hodges not lasting very long, VanCourt stepped in and secured the victory by allowing zero hits or runs in four and a third innings along with collecting four strikeouts.

Even though the ‘Canes (9-17, 3-6) finished with only 5 hits, there first three batters reached base multiple times as Elijah Carriere had three walks, James Seal hit a single for two RBIs and was hit-by-pitch, and Hunter Ross knocked in a single and was walked.

‘Canes Senior Donny Davis threw a complete game with three strikeouts.

Long Beach will host Biloxi at the Rutledge Stadium Thursday, April 20, 2023 for their last regular season home game of 2023 then will play at Vancleave High School on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 in the first round of the 5A MHSAA Playoffs.

With their victory Tuesday night, April 18, 2023 over Vancleave 3-1, the ‘Canes finish the 2023 regular season.